Six journalists among the first freed Cuban political prisoners to arrive in Spain

By Ingrid Bachmann

The first seven political prisoners released by the Cuban government landed in Madrid Tuesday, July 13. The prisoners are part of the 75 dissidents who were arrested during a crackdown in 2003, reported The Associated Press and ABC.

Six of the freed prisoners are journalists, according to the BBC: Léster Luis González Pentón, Omar Ruíz Hernández, Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez, José Luis García Paneque, Pablo Pacheco Avila y Ricardo González Alfonso.

On their arrival in Spain, Gálvez said, "This signifies the start of a new stage for the future of Cuba and all Cubans," according to another BBC article.

As the ex-prisoners were leaving Cuba, former president Fidel Castro made a rare appearance on Cuban television (becoming the center of worldwide media attention), where he spoke about foreign affairs.

Michael Voss of the BBC explained that such a return to the scene after being out of the public's eye is a calculated political gesture, perhaps signaling that the Communist Party's leader wanted to demonstrate that the release of 52 political prisoners was done with his blessing.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.